Breastfeeding, Body fat, and Patience

For a month, around when my baby was 7 months old, I was doing great. I was doing well with slowing shedding my weight, and at my last 10 pounds. Or so I thought.

14120BreastfeedingI finally pushed down to my pre-pregnancy weight and was looking forward to looking more fit when life interfered. I was hit by a triple whammy last month: baby started solids, the family got sick, and then a growth spurt. What this basically translated to is that my consistency in tracking went out the window, I was thrown off my exercise routine, and my ability to get good sleep went to the toilet.

I am heavier, and struggling. I had to go back and look for answers if only to give me some sanity, mental strength and patience with myself. Why is this so hard?

Contrary to what people often say, the pounds don’t just melt off because you are breastfeeding. The breastfeeding-weight loss thing is a huge myth. I knew this when I had my first and second babies! They were the reason why I had to look hard at what I eat and learn about fitness. When breastfeeding, the hormone prolactin helps the body hang on to fat. I guess mother nature decided that you need that extra fat while your body is feeding another human being, just in case of famine.

The best formula for losing that baby weight is to eat according to hunger (not craving), drink according to thirst and exercise with a combination of strength training to boost your metabolism and cardiovascular exercise to burn off extra calories. Plus patience.

Every body’s different, and our body also changes with pregnancy. Possibly every pregnancy! I am learning that for me:

  • I have to track my intake in order to lose weight.
  • I will probably have to wait until I have weaned my baby for that last 5-10 pounds to come off.
  • Now that the baby is eating some solids, I need to adjust the calories again. (I had the 500 calories accounted for breastfeeding, but that is for exclusive breastfeeding.)
  • I have a weakness for holiday baking -Need to stop nibbling on the cakes and cookies I bake for the kids!
  • I still need to practice patience with myself, just as I practice patience with my children and my husband. It is something I need to practice for a lifetime.


Refocusing on Fat Loss Goal

Since my experience with under-resting (or overtraining), I decided that my focus will be on getting stronger. I want to gain more muscle, get stronger, and avoid injury. I have been fairly successful at avoiding the level of injury since last summer. I have not had symptoms of under-resting except for the occasional muscle strain and aches. Instead of weighing myself 2-3 times a week like when I started this blog, I have been weighing myself about 1-2 times a month for the past year. Even though I have never even tried to lose weight until after having my second child, the few weighings this past year has revealed to me how vulnerable I am to the mental idea of weight.

I weigh about 140-142lbs right now, and I have to remind myself not to freak out sometimes. Even though my body fat composition has really not gone up too much according to the scale (which I know is actually higher than my actual because of my hydrostatic testing experience), I still fit into my clothes just fine, and I know that I am getting stronger because I have been upping my weights steadily in the past 10 months, I still have a hard time with that number because I am more accustomed to myself weighing around 125-130lbs.

I stopped tracking my food intake with all the moving and life changes, but I definitely should start doing it again to lose fat, and I think it is good to do ever so often just to recalibrate.

I am also going to recalibrate by reading some books. I plan on re-reading Tom Venuto’s Body Fat Solution and I also plan on reading Leigh Peele’s Starve Mode book.